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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Bull

Back to School – Tips for P.E. Teachers

Updated: Jan 6

Whether you’re officially starting your new school year or coming back after the long Christmas break, returning to school can be challenging for both students and teachers. Kids and teachers alike have spent the entire break eating delicious treats, sleeping in and doing almost whatever we wish. How good? As a result, the attention of both student and teacher might be a little different than usual because we all need some time to readjust to the school routine… and for students in PE class, this generally means a lot more sluggish behaviour than we normally see.

You know your students better than anyone, but as a general rule, don’t hop straight back into curriculum. See paragraph above as to reasons why. Get your kids moving with fun activities like Ice Breaker Games or Fun Team Building Challenges.

The next tip is to plan. This sounds simple enough, but I’m constantly amazed at the number of teachers that forget this part of the teaching pendulum. Have your first couple of weeks/and or month mapped out. Not sure where to begin? Start with what works for you. I always have my PE curriculum map enlarged and sitting above my desk. It is my bible.

Good plans are complimented with consistent structure/rules. If your students are like mine, they’ve probably forgot these rules over the break, or pretend like they’ve forgot. Our job is to remind them. I use a clothes peg system. Each colored clothes peg relates to a behaviour. Students can move up or down on the behaviour chart. For example, green is the top color one can receive. If they get that color, they get points for their class. Red is the color you don’t want. If you get that color, it relates to a consequence. Make sure you revisit the rules after the break.

Start thinking and planning for the BIG STUFF!!! Before you know it, the school year will be ending. Those Track Carnivals, Field Days, Swim Meets etc will come before you know it. Think about what needs doing for them. Map it out. Make lists. Tick off those lists. Nothing is worse than leaving those events to the last minute. Been there, done that. Not fun. Plan the BIG STUFF!

Organise your equipment. Hopefully this was done before the break. I’ll never forget taking over from someone who left our gym resource room in a mess. I think a grenade went off in there. You are a much better teacher when you know where your equipment is, how much you have of something and when you will be using it/not using it. It’s a good time to make an inventory list and start making note of resources needed.

Look for professional development and get educated. Nothing is better than an inspiring PD to re-energize you. Depending on where you live, these can be hard to come by as a PE teacher, but they are out there. Research and find one in your area. I’ve been to a couple PDs that have helped me re-think how I approach my teachings and given me the knowledge to make valuable, impactful resources. Everyone needs this. Seek it out.

I know going back to school after a big break can be a dreaded time of year… but it’s also an opportunity to engage, inspire and grow the minds of students you teach. It is our chance to give some wisdom to help those young minds develop physical literacy skills to make them a little healthier and more active. Good luck as you start 2024. It will be an exciting year!

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